He took a left down the dark tree-lined street and walked to the driveway of the third house on the right. The house was dark except for a lighted window on the second floor. The pale pink curtains were shut, but he could see a shadowed figure pass by as the wind blew, the oncoming storm threatening to let loose at any moment.
The figure passed in front of the window again, but this time it stopped and he saw the curtains part in the center. The light coming from behind let the figure stay as a shadow and he wondered if she knew he was there. He wondered if she was waiting for him, watching for him.
The curtains closed and the figure disappeared. Then the lights went out.
He tucked his hands into the pockets of his brown trenchcoat and glanced into the branches of the elm tree that stood in front of her house. He remembered the night he had first kissed her. How she had climbed from that window to the branches of this tree. How she had snuck out of the house he’d never seen the interior of just so they could take a walk around the neighborhood. How they had walked to the playground two blocks over and he’d pushed her gently on the swing as she talked about feelings of loneliness. How he had stopped the swing, stood in front of her, and kissed her right then. How she had not backed away from him, had not been surprised by the kiss. He had known that night he would love her for the rest of his life.
He watched the darkened house again, listening for sounds of movement but never hearing any. He thought about the day, months later, when she had showed up at his doorstep in tears. Her guardian would not let her see him anymore. After that night she would not be able to climb down the elm tree anymore because she feared she would be under lock-and-key. She feared bars would decorate her window. He had kissed her tears away, holding her chin in his hand and promised her guardian would never hurt her. He would rescue her.
He shook his head now at his foolish naivety. They were merely teenagers consumed by puppy love; nobody took their emotions seriously. How could children know what love really was? How could he have known the passion felt by her guardian, and the lengths he would go to keep her to himself?
When he heard the creak of a door opening, he closed his eyes and said a silent prayer it was her door. He listened for the door closing, a lock thrown into place. He heard footsteps on the driveway. They were definitely coming straight towards him. He opened his eyes, caught a glance of her guardian in front of him with his fist raised. And then he only saw blackness.